Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kentucky Mr. Basketball 1950's

This week (and next) we will be breaking down Kentucky Mr. Basketball's by decade. And first up is the 1950's. But first I'll give a quick overview of the award.


First Kentucky Mr. Basketball was presented in 1954 to Vernon Hatton. The award is presented annually by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. There are 48 recipients of the award, 4 are still in college, 21 were drafted into the NBA. One landed in MLB, Dom Fucci of Tates Creek was a member of the Chicago White Sox organization. Two players were name Kentucky Mr. Basketball once, in 1958 Harry Todd (Earlington) and Ralph Richardson (Russell County) were named Kentucky Mr. Basketball.

Now onto the Kentucky Mr. Basketball's of the 1950's.


As stated above the Kentucky Mr. Basketball was first given in 1954 and had two recipients in 1958 giving the 1950's seven Kentucky Mr. Basketball's. Here's the list:

1954: Vernon Hatton (Lafayette)

Hatton is considered one of the University of Kentucky's all-time greats and has his #52 jersey retired. Hatton of Lafayette won the first ever Kentucky Mr. Basketball award in 1954. He averaged 15.17 points per game in his three seasons at Kentucky before being drafted 9th overall in the 1958 NBA Draft by Cincinnati. Hatton played four seasons in the NBA, mainly with the Philadelphia Warriors averaging 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game for his career.

1955: Kenny Kuhn (Male)

Kenny Kuhn is one of the all-time great athletes not only in Louisville Male history but in Kentucky High School history. Kuhn played four sports at an all-state level in high school including football, basketball, baseball and track. He had offers in football from local schools like Indiana and won the 1955 Kentucky Mr. Basketball award. However, Kuhn chose baseball and was one of baseball "bonus babies" he signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1955 for an estimated $40,000. He played for the Indians from 1955-1957 and played in the minors until 1963. On July 16th, 2010 Kuhn succumbed to pancreatic cancer in Layton, Utah.

1956: "King" Kelly Coleman (Wayland)

Coleman averaged an astonishing 33.6 points per game over his 4 year career at Wayland High School (Consolidated into Allen Central High School.) Even more absurd was the 1,919 points he amassed in 1955-1956 for a 46.8 points per game average. Adolph Rupp has this to say about him, "the greatest high school player who ever lived...A combination of Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, and all of the other great stars who have played at Kentucky." Coleman went on to play in college at Kentucky Wesleyan and was drafted #11 overall by the New York Knicks in the 1960 NBA Draft. Kelly was supposed to play basketball at West Virginia before illegal recruiting violations were discovered.

1957: Billy Ray Lickert (Lafayette)

Scored 1,076 points in 73 games at the University of Kentucky for a 14.73 point per game average. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 1961 NBA Draft by the L.A. Lakers.

1958: Harry Todd (Earlington) and Ralph Richardson (Russell County)

 (Harry Todd #44)

Third in career points and first in career rebounds in Kentucky high school basketball history. Played in college at Western Kentucky.

Ralph Richardson averaged 27 points per game as a junior in high school and 35 points per game as a senior. He played three years at Eastern Kentucky averaging 9.3 rebounds per game and 11.0 points per game as a sophomore. After his junior year at EKU he was drafted by the New York Knicks in the 10th round of the 1962 NBA Draft.

1959: Pat Doyle (North Marshall)

Pat Doyle led North Marshall to a state championship and a nearly undefeated season as a senior in high school. He would go on to play in college at the University of Kentucky. However, he only played 12 games there and scored only 12 points.


The 1950's proved very successful for the Mr. Basketball's all stayed in-state and three of the five were drafted by the NBA. The 1950's also produced the most dominant and best Kentucky high school basketball player in "King" Kelly Coleman. Tomorrow we'll look at the Kentucky Mr. Basketball's of the 1960s.


Links to Other Decades:


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